In 2017, President Trump repealed Obama’s executive order for young immigrants, Dreamers, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allowed them temporary status in the United States. The repeal took effect in September and advocates have been fighting since then to restore DACA and pass the Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship. We speak with two immigrant’s rights advocates, Mani Martinez of Cosecha Movement and Juan Escalante of America’s Voice, about the impacts of current immigration policies and what it would take to permanently protect immigrants in the United States.
Relevant articles and websites:
DACA 101: What It Feels Like To Be A Dreamer, by Juan Escalante
The White House Dreamer Deal Isn’t A Compromise. It’s A Racist Ransom Note, by Juan Escalante
Mani Martinez is a grassroots artist and activist with the Cosecha Movement in New Jersey. Mani also works for Popular Resistance.
Juan Escalante: With much foresight to the oncoming political violence, Juan Escalante’s parents fled Venezuela, with Juan and his two brothers in tow, for the United States in 2000. In 2006, an immigration attorney mishandled the Escalante’s case, and they lost status. After six years of legal fees and paying taxes, the Escalantes were unable to gain legal status.
By the time President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, Juan had graduated from Florida State University with a political science degree, fought (and lost) two legislative fights in support of the Dream Act, and helped organize thousands of Dreamers from all across the country. Since 2013, Juan and his brothers have been protected from deportation under DACA.
With DACA, Juan was able to return to FSU for a Master’s degree in public administration and get a job in immigration advocacy, as the Communications Manager for America’s Voice. Juan is a Tallahassee resident and a coffee fanatic.